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TNA: Returns spark show
By DONNIE ABREU -- SLAM! Wrestling


Sting and Mike Tenay

This week's episode of NWA TNA felt like homecoming weekend. Many of the guys who helped build TNA made long awaited returns. We saw no less than five comebacks this week, and witnessed the debut of someone who we know very little about. On the positive side, we had very little Jeff Jarrett nonsense and a fair amount of actual ring work.

First round match in the NWA TNA Tag Team Title tournament
Shane Douglas & Michael Shane with Tracy VS. Christopher Daniels & Low KI

Before the match, Douglas took the mic and talked about how the "New Franchise" is the most feared group in the business. He also said that he has heard the rumors that people think there is dissention in their group. He told the crowd to stop wishing for Douglas versus young Mr.Shane because it's just not going to happen... which pretty much means it is going to happen.

The "mystery tag team" didn't end up being The Outsiders as many internet reporters had speculated this past week - instead it was Daniels & Ki reforming their Triple X tag team. The story line had been run for quite some time with the third member of the team, Elix Skipper trying to get the band together again. Ki and Daniels are both back from tours of Japan, and are working together again.

The funny thing was that they showed Elix watching the match backstage and he seemed surprised, even upset that Daniels and Ki were on the same side.

During this match, Mike Tenay mentioned that Vince Russo has suspended both Raven and James Storm for a week without pay for outside interference in matches last week.

Back to the match, nice spot where the baldies hung Douglas on the top rope with a belly first suplex. They came off opposite sides of the ring and each dropkicked Shane's head simultaneously. Nice.

When Michael Shane was tagged in, the work rate picked up considerably. MS threw Daniels with a beautiful overhead-release suplex into a pinfall attempt.

When Low Ki was tagged in it was just a stiff-kick party. He unleased some wicked shots to Michael who was sitting up on the mat taking them like a champ. Daniels picked Shane up, and held him by the legs while Ki used a springboard spin kick to knock out the former X-Division champion.

Daniels flew over the top rope to eliminate Douglas. Tracy came off the top rope to try and take out Ki, but instead caught Michael. Low Ki and Daniels then hit a cool double team where they held MS up and took him down in a combination face plant / roll up.

Winners - advancing in the tag team tournament: Christopher Daniels & Low KI

After the match Tracy blamed Michael for the loss. Douglas tried to play peacemaker, but the kid just jumped out of the ring and left on his own.

Backstage, Scott Hudson spoke to Glen Gilberti, David Young and Kid Kash. All are supposed to be competing in the tournament. Gilberti wanted to make sure his partner, Young was focused and ready. GG then asked Kash where his partner Johnny Swinger is. Kash said that he told Swinger to stay home because he doesn't trust any of them. He said he went back to his roots and found himself a partner that he considers part of his personal family.

First round match in the NWA TNA Tag Team Title tournament
Glen Gilberti & David Young VS. Slash & Sinn

This is the first appearance on TNA for Slash and Sinn in months. They were not accompanied by their one-time manager Father James Mitchell. The crowd seemed to be backing the former Disciples of the New Church.

Sinn, while trying to fire up the crowd, missed a big clothesline and took Young's Spinebuster finisher. Slash ran in to make the save. He eventually tagged his partner in.

Slash, a TNA'er from day one, went to work on both Young and Gilberti. The finish came when Sinn took out GG with a jumping legdrop, while Slash finished off Young with a Whirlybird Drop.

Winners - advancing in the tag team tournament: Slash and Sinn

Backstage, BG James was seen talking to Russo asking what he is supposed to do if his partner Konnan didn't show up for their tag match. While Russo tried to answer Raven (who walked in with Sabu) interrupted asking why he was suspended and why he had to find out about it on the Internet. Russo repeatedly referred to Raven as Scotty (his real name) and told him he shouldn't be in the building, and if he wanted to discuss his title opportunities they could do it another time. Raven kept talking about how he was better than everyone else in the company and Russo had better make things right. Raven then went to leave and told Sabu to join him. Russo told Sabu he was booked for this week's show and he had to stay.

The next match was supposed to be Don Callis and Monty Brown. As Callis entered the ring, "The Alpha Male" attacked him and destroyed him. He took the mic and said he didn't come to TNA to beat up Don Harris or Chris Vaughn. He wants to dominate the top guys in the company. He then offered an open challenge to anyone in the building.

The guy who took the challenge, was Sabu.

As soon as Sabu entered, Brown went for the Alpha Bomb , but it was reversed into a hurricanrana. He set up a chair and hit a triple jump moonsault on the ex-NFLer. Monty slid out of the ring so we could get this match some other time.

Scott Hudson was backstage with the members of Team AAA. It was announced that Hector Garza is the new team captain, and Juventud Guerrera has been booted off the squad. He was replaced by Heavy Metal. They have an upcoming defence of the America's X Cup against the team from the UK.

First round match in the NWA TNA Tag Team Title tournament
Kid Kash & mystery partner VS. Sonny Siaki & Simon Diamond

Kash's Mystery partner appears to be about 6'5", 275 with long hair and a decent build. Damn he looks familiar and I can't figure out who he is! He actually looks like a Test wannabe - and that's not a good thing. In fact, it's tantamount to a young singer studying under the watchful eye of William Hung.

Diamond and Kash started things out with SD carrying the work load. Lots of deep arm drags and some power spots. When Siaki was tagged in it was just what you expect from Siaki - some chops and kicks, a spinebuster. You get the idea.

Simon Series of suplexes, but Kash kicked out of the last one. The big man was then tagged in. He immediately back dropped Kash onto Simon. Simon kicked out only to take punches and big boots from this unknown wrestler. The newcomer was in the ring for literally 90 seconds. He then tagged Kash right back in,

In fact, the big guy was tagged in two or three times - each time in the ring shorter than the time before. Is he THAT green? He then sat on the top rope while Diamond lay prone in the ring. Kash climbed his the corner ropes and his partner and attempted a moonsault off his shoulders. Diamond moved and made the hot tag.

As Siaki worked Kash, Diamond super-kicked big guy out of the ring and then planchaed onto him on the floor.

The big guy grabbed a steel pipe he found outside the ring - convenient - and knocked out Siaki. Kash made the pinfall.

Winners - advancing in the tag team tournament: The Kash Family

AJ Styles was being interviewed by Hudson. AJ talked about how made he is that he lost the number one contenders match last week because of Raven. Now, because Raven was suspended by Russo, AJ is not booked for this week's show. He is furious. Russo walked in and asked Styles to trust him and said things would work out. Styles said he trusted Russo before and won't make that mistake again.

First round match in the NWA TNA Tag Team Title tournament
The Naturals VS. BG James & ?

Well first we found out that Swinger was a last minute cancellation from the tournament - and now it appears that Konnan is a no-show. James ran out to the ring and took on both members of the Naturals. How hard could that be? Chris Harris pinned them both three times in 10 minutes a few weeks ago.

Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas worked James over for quite a while. After about five or six minutes, Konnan came to the ring in street clothes. He ran into James' corner and took out both Naturals.

We had a ref bump of some sort - I missed how it happened - while one of the Naturals opened a packet of white powder. Powder was thrown into Konnan's eyes and he was hit with a quick chairshot. The ref recovered to count 1-2-3.

Winners - advancing in the tag team tournament: The Naturals

Why did Konnan show up late? Work? Shoot? This match seemed very rushed and on-the-fly the minute he walked in. Strange.

A Jeff Jarrett video aired where he talked about how Chris Harris wasn't ready to take the title last week. He also didn't seem concerned about any of his would-be contenders. He said he would always be the NWA Heavyweight Champion.

Mike Tenay was in the ring to conduct an interview with Sting. On the mic the former NWA champion yelled "Stiz-inger in da house". Oh lord. He then pushed a movie he is making about his life. He thanked Jerry Jarrett for use of the Asylum as it will be used to film segments for the flick. Sting then said it was about time that a wrestling company got back to actual "wrestling". Seem odd that this is coming from the guy wearing face paint, a leather trench coat and shouting the slang of a 17-year-old boy.

Sting said that in his opinion, the NWA title is the most important belt in the business, and the fans should appreciate it. Tenay asked Sting if he would be involved next Wednesday when Double J put his belt on the line. Sting said he'll be back next week to film his movie - and he might just find a way to get involved. Sting has never been a good promo - and this was particularly sloppy.

Scott Hudson spoke to another former NWA champion, Ron "The Truth" Killings about his contender's match against Abyss. Nice promo by Killings talking about how Abyss can't handle the truth. Goldylocks walked in and asked if Killings was ready - because Abyss definitely is. Hudson wrapped by saying Abyss was about to find out that the truth hurts.

Abyss VS. Ron Killings

The winner of this match will face Jarrett in a cage for the strap next week. Abyss and Killings battled on the outside and through the crowd for most of the early going. This match was so slow. It didn't have any of the magic of Abyss and Styles.

When they finally did get in the ring, Killings put Abyss in the corner and sprung off a chair landing with a leg lariat to Abyss' head.

Don West's dumb comment of the week, "Abyss has never faced anyone like this. He's so used to AJ Styles, and Killings ...... (pause) can do certain things AJ can't".

Killings at one point seemed set to make the cover and pick up a win, but Raven (who is supposed to be suspended) showed up and pulled the ref out. When Killings looked Raven's way, Abyss grabbed him and used his sit-out Torture Rack. Killings kicked out. He hit a big boot on Abyss but then was taken up and around with a vicious Black Hole Slam. Abyss had the win, but Raven slid in and knocked the 6'8" masked man with a chair.

The ref called for the bell and called the match a no-contest.

Winner: No-Contest

Raven stood in the ring celebrating, but was attacked by Styles. Styles went to work on Raven. Abyss and Killings came to their feet and everybody was going at it. A bunch of wrestlers came from the back to separate all of these guys.

Killings took the mic and cut a nice promo. The really funny part was the crowd. They responded at the end of every line with "TRUTH". It was similar to Austin's "WHAT?" This could catch on.

Next week we will have a Final Fourway. It will involve Raven, Abyss, Killings and AJ. The winner will face Chris Harris on April 14th. The winner of that will face JJ in a cage the following week. This is getting confusing.

X-Division #1 Contender's Elimination Match
Petey Williams VS. Nosawa VS. Frankie Kazarian VS. Elix Skipper VS. Jerry Lynn VS. The Amazing Red

On a night of returns, Red is back after almost a year. He was recovering from reconstructive surgery on a torn ACL. The winner of this match will face X-Division champion Chris Sabin.

The rules are simple. 1 on 1, while a man stands in each corner. A person can be tagged in at any time. When you are pinned, you are eliminated until there is only one man left.

Recapping one of these is an exercise in futility. Lots of quick action, lots of high spots.

The first man eliminated was Nosawa after a cradle piledriver from Lynn.

Skipper was eliminated by Frankie Kazarian but the camera missed it. We were being shown Red on the outside being tended to the guy who accidentally knocked him out - his former tag partner, Lynn.

Red came off the top rope with a dropkick that took out Williams and Kazarian. F5 by Lynn on Williams. Kazarian and Williams teamed together to defeat Lynn.

Williams and Kazarian then used a flapjack / DDT move on Red. 2 Count only. Petey Williams then hit a move on Red I STILL don't believe. He picked him as if it was a piledriver - then threw himself and Red forwards into a 360 flip, that ended with Red being spiked on his head. WOW!! That is the sickest move I've EVER seen.

Williams put a foot on Red's chest for the pin, but took a Wave Of The Future from Kazarian and was eliminated.

It came down to Red and Frankie. FK went for his Back To The Future electric chair / bridge. Red reversed it and got a pinfall attempt. After a series of reversals, The Amazing one did score the win with the Red Star Press.

Winner: Amazing Red

Glad to see Red back - but unfortunately (as is expected following an ACL injury) he wasn't quite the same.

After the match, the cameras took us backstage where we saw all of the wrestlers in the locker room brawling. This was a continuation of the whole Raven, Abyss, AJ, Killings thing. Kind of funny: RAW and TNA went off the air the exact same way this week.


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    Donnie Abreu has been a wrestling journalist for eight years and is the co-founder of IceCold Media (www.icecoldmedia.com). Visit IceCold Media for all your custom media design needs. Mention that you read Donnie's column on SLAM! and receive a 20% discount! Looking to make some extra cash? Visit www.icecoldmedia.com to find out about ICM's new Affiliate Program and how it can work for you!